Catherine Cortez Masto Intros Bill to Protect Seniors from Opioid Abusers
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)introduced bipartisan legislation meant to protect seniors from criminals who misuse the Medicare system to illicitly acquire opioids. The Stop Excessive Narcotics in our Retirement Communities Protection Act, introduced with Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), would give Medicare Part D, or the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the ability to suspend payments to a pharmacy that is under investigation for fraud. Seniors have had their Medicare numbers stolen and then used to fraudulently bill Medicare for opioids. “Pill dumping” has resulted in millions of painkillers flooding small towns through just a few pharmacies -- much of it paid for by Medicare. Last year the Department of Justice announced one of the biggest healthcare fraud busts in its history, charging 412 defendants for billing the government for $1.3 billion in fraudulent charges, including for prescription opioids which were then distributed. “The surplus of unneeded opioids in our communities is caused in part by criminals who abuse the system and fraudulently use Medicare accounts from seniors to acquire and distribute high amounts of opioids,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will help prevent abuse of the Medicare system, protect Medicare dollars for seniors who rely on them, and curb the excessive number of illicit opioids that are flooding our communities.” More here.